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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  July 20, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT

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birthday party. the using any excuse to call the president. that's our con job of the day. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton, "hardball" starts right now. > the leading six-pack. let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm crist matthews in san francisco. leading off tonight, the gang of six has a plan. president obama endorsed it in principle. conservative republicans helped draft it and a deadline looms with certain economic consequences on the other side of august 2nd. so how long can the tea party republicans stand in the door and say no? give us everything we want, we'll give you nothing, and then we'll have a deal. how much longer can they say
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they won't accept any plan that president obama would agree to? of course, that's our top story tonight. plus what would ronald reagan think of the debt fight? he would be seen by today's republicans as a hopeless moderate. republicans talk about the party of reagan, but wasn't the great communicator also in several cases a great compromiser? and across the country republican governors and legislators are rewriting voting eligibility rules with one thing in mind, lowering the turnout, making it easier for republicans to win elections and making it harder to register and vote. if you watched "hardball" last night, you may have noticed how much tea partier joe walsh loved saying my name. >> hey, chris. chris matthews, chris, chris, chris. >> how many times did congressman wall say chris? here's a hint -- it used to be
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the single-season record for check out the side show. let me fin wish the reagan who wouldn't have had it the way it is now. prs we start with a gang of six's plan. senator mark warner is a democrat from virginia, most importantly a member of the gang of six. i feel like the cavalry -- >> i'm not going to call you chris. don't worry. >> just don't call me late for dinner, as we used to say. are you hopeful? that your gang of six can help from the attacking of the enemy? >> all i can say is this is the first time we've seen a bipartisan plan that includes revenues, it isn't perfect, but when the alternative is we'll drive this country over the cliff, i think we have to start with something that gets the job done. that gives us a comprehensive approach. >> not to look a gift horse in the mouth, why does now work for
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you? young people just love tom coburn. rolling stones and all. they just love this guy. why did he come back to the team? why is the team of rivals working? >> i wish we had had this plan out three months ago, so it could have been fully vetted. and attacked from every side and we are getting some of those attacks today. we are where we're at. sometimes it's a little whacky. we're 13 days away from a default, with the interest rates skyrocketing. the government can't pay its bills. we've got to be responsible if we can make sure this ought to be a starting point for the conversation, remember, this has got revenues, it's got an approach that says defense spending has to take its hit as well.
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i think it's a good starting point. august 2nd coming around the bend. >> let's go through the groups. how do you get the house democrats to go along with at least participating in guess 218 if boehner will let this come to a vote? >> we went and talked on a lot of house democrats. i think they were generally optimistic. they see if we do a trillion dollars in cuts and wout a plan we will be back where we are today, six to eight months from now with a new starting points and 'em deeper cuts in entitlement programs, domestic discretionary programs. we have to make sure anything counts toward a larger deal. they say, hey, this makes some sense. the house republicans i think they have asked for things that are comprehensive. this is comprehensive, but i can't make a prediction about that part of the body. >> i feel like we're dealing in the middle east, it's so hard, but will this plan work? you have your plan for 4
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trillion. you have revenues. you have an agreeable to a group of a bipartisan group. you go to the house democrats, they say, okay, we'll great to the following, there will be a separation of the debt ceiling issue, a decoupling of that from the spending cut package. getting the debt ceiling hiked up avoiding a bankruptcy, there will be this down the road fairly soon legislation to do the $4 trillion package? is that the idea? decoupleds, but not in principle. that would be extraordinarily reasonable, but i work in a place that's not always reasonable. we don't want to do anything with our gang of six plan that messes that up. we've got to keep our momentum going forward. in a reasonable world, what you suggested would word, but i'm not sure where we're headed. i'm anxious to hear from when the guys get back from the white house, literally right now.
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>> i get the feeling, all the producers part of our brain trust who put the show together every night, seems like boehner wants to reach a reasonable compromise, which tilts to the conservative side, but doesn't shut out the democrats. they get some piece of the action. is that your view? that's my understanding, that everybody realizes you can't solve this problem on simply one side of the ledger. on simply the cuts side. you have to have revenue. you have to give confidence the economy will come back. the $2 trillion siding on the sidelines can actually start getting reinvested, so i think everything i have heard is the speaker is willing to be reasonable on this. >> we saw the market go up yesterday. there is good news from your gang of six. you're a businessman that's a democrat, how does this help get consumer confidence and business investment going? how does it connect? >> the last few months, the
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whole congress has looked pretty not up to the job. if we could put a plan in place that says america will balance its books, remember, corporate america has done pretty well. they're sitting on $2 trillion in cash. thovr then they won't have an execute. they won't have an excuse to not invest that money back into the country. it's time, if we do our part, you've got to do your part as well. >> well said, member of the gang of six. joining me now is mick mulvane. sir, thank you. is your position personally that you have to have the measure that was passed by the house yesterday? >> my position is i have to have some cuts, some cap, some balance. yesterday what we got was acceptable to me.
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that's why i helped move it through. aren't the gang of six and people like that offering your side the best part of the deal? mostly with some revenues? >> i'm not sure, at risk of using your name too frequently. we haven't seen the details. we went through the summary today. i understand there may not be a bill under next week, so it's hard to have an opinion. i was surprised to hear the president back it when he hasn't seen it yet. it says, for example, immediately deficit reduction, i don't know what that means. to me that's not immediate. i don't know if i've got enough information to have an opinion yet. on the gang of six proposal.
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let me ask you about your ideal. >> the ideal seems to be driving a lot of tea party congress people, the idea of a federal government that only spends 18% of the economy, 18% of the gdp. do you think that's reasonable? that's in the balanced-budget amendment. >> i would love to have that, but the proposal we offered yesterday was a 20% capital during that period. keep in mind, i hear what you're saying, you think this isn't a compromise, but there's a lot of us who never expected to come to washington to vote to raise the debt ceiling. for us a $2.4 trillion increase is a compromise. we wanted 18% caps, we didn't get it, we took 20% instead. there's compromises we have already made. in exchange we give the many dr we're willing to trade a short-term fleck, for a long-term fix. which is the balanced budget amendment. we know the budget, going into these big ticket items.
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how would you really reduce the spending, but getting rid of something big? in the trillion-dollar level? what would you get rid of? >> i was one of the folks last week who introduced an amendment that said, let's at least freeze defense spendsing. i did that. it's not a very popular thing for a republican to do. i like defense, it's important to me. i think constituency in my state. we did that. we only got 65 democrats and only 70 republicans. i'm willing to put everything on the table to be serious about spending reductions. >> what do we do about the big entitlements that go through the roof as people get older and older. you can't limit the number of people turning 65 by law. how do you deal with the cost increase? >> let's start by being honest
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with ourselves. i think the president did that this week. if you read his veto message about cut, cap and balance, he says the only reasons he opposes a balanced budget amendment is that it prevents us from keeping our promises to the seniors. what he's saying is what we have been telling folks back home, you cannot balance the budget without changing medicare, medicaid and social security. you simply can't do it. the folks back home tell you they want a balanced budget amendment. we have to deal with entitlements. >> but there's only way, increase the co-pays puts on some kinds of means test or what? change the age? these are all tough to do. >> it's going to be a tough fix. nobody said it would be easy. the republican study committee budget actually proposed slowly raising the social security age. there are folks here willing to make the tough decisions, willing to offer things we would never expect republicans to do. we are deadly serious about
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fixing the problem. making sure we don't bankrupt the country. so there are folks up here, a large majority of us, willing to do tough things like we did yesterday. >> but when you saw you're going to limit the amount of federal spending, that is an artificial arbitrary line. how do you hold that line in a society where people are getting older all the time and you have more and more people with entitlement, who have paid into medicare, who expect to get full medical treat after age 65 and now say we're going to change that system? >> that's not an arbitrary line. it started at 18, 18.5%, which was the 30 or 40-year historical average on the revenues that come into this country. the 20% is that same period of time average, 30 to 40 years, that's the average we spend. we should be able to live within that means. even the president said he wants us to live within our means. i think we're all saying the same things, we need to live one
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our means. >> so we gradually reduce our commitment to people over 65 to keep it below 20. we have to. that's a fact. you can't keep the same commitments, total health care, if you're going to constrain the growth in federal spending? one of the most overlooked pieces, if you are rich, you're going to pay more for your medicare. weapon we're willing to consider raising the rear tirmt age, two months we have put these difficult things on the table. we got nowhere. i shouldn't say we got nowhere. we got five democrats yesterday. we overlooked that. it was a bipartisan vote yesterday. you're a good guest on our show. you know your stuff. you can now call me by my name. >> mr. matthews, i'm a big fan. i'm happy to be here.
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>> can you call me chris. the other day did. matching the record of 61 times. coming up, by the way, what would ronald reagan make of this fight? he signed 18 debt ceiling hikes, agreed to multiple increases in taxes. would reagan even be a republican today? you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. ick up) usa prime credit. my name ...peggy. you got problem? peggy? third time i've called, it's time i speak with a supervisor. supervisor is genius...i transfer. transfer! transfer! transfer! transfer! transfer! hello...my name is... peggy? come on!!! hello? want better customer service? switch to discover. ranked #1 in customer loyalty. it pays to discover.
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here's a shocker. new jersey govern ovr chris christie says again he's not running for president. he met yesterday with fund-raisers who tried to convince him, but he says he wasn't swayed. if the answer is always no, why does he keeping showing up? maybe he is auditioning for the vp slot on the republican ticket.
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>> when you change your tune from tax increases to over my dead body to keep tax increases
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as low as possible well, i am going to meet with the leaders of the senate, because it's high time to bring down the deficit, and get es on a path toward a balanced budget. >> that of course was the great ronald reagan in his own words back in october of 1987 about raising taxes, the deal with the ballooning deficit. sound familiar? today many democrats and congress have picked up on the congress, using the most revered words against his own part. with us is michael steele, and salon's joan walsh. let's go to the old issue of negotiation. i don't want to be too sophisticated. it seems that the tea party element doesn't seem to be -- he used some crude language and crude like some of the other politicians are when they get in the back room.
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he would agree to almost anything but high frontier. he did get things done in terms of ending the cold war. let's talk about -- he would raise taxes, would raise the debt ceiling multiple times in order to get a reduction or continue ways of the debt ceiling so he wouldn't have a crisis. why has your party changed on this? >> that's a good question. i think what you see is the transition from a party in those days, and even before that really did look at deficits and debt as a long-term impact on the nation's health and economy. the impact on health generations which reagan talked about a great deal. >> i think when you got to the point when he realized the road ahead would be tougher for that future generation, it was easier, better and smarter political to making the compromise today, not when you give up on principle, but where you take that principle and you reshape it around this new idea i think reagan did that effectively. the tea party has a structured,
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very constitutionally based argument at this moment with respect to taxes and spending, but the constitution provides for people to come to congress and negotiate. they don't e-mail it in. they come in, meet other people. they makes friends. >> it's the politics. >> they listen to the other side and that's how congress works. joan, i want to respond to this. in which he talks -- reagan talks about increasing the debt ceiling. it's very pertinent. >> congress consistently brings the government to the edge of default before facing its responsibility. this brinksmanship holds the threatens the holders of bonds and vet van benefits. instability would occur in financial markets and the federal deficit would soar. the united states has a special responsibility to itself and the world to meet its obligations. it means we have a well-erved representation for reliability
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and credibility, two things that set us apart from much of the world. >> joan, that sounds like ship to shore more than anything else. it sounded like reagan under water there. but you got the point. he talks about trickery around a deadline just to get your way, is sort of economic terrorism. >> right. reagan was very much a conservative, and i didn't great with him on much, but he was a pragmatist and a compromiser. i heard my friend michael talk about the constitution the tea party likes to talk about the constitution and the founders, but the fact is the founders didn't agree on very much at all. they argue about a lot of things. they created a system in which we had to talk to one another and had to compromise. this president, president obama, who i don't always agree with, either, is the reagan figure here. he is the person saying, you know what? i'm going to disappointed some folks [ laughter ] >> please don't laugh at me,
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michael. i didn't laugh at you. >> when you say something funny, i'm going to laugh. >> why is that funny? >> because he should have voted against raising the debt limit. the fact of the matter is, you know, it's great for the dnc and the democrats on the hill to run around and quote reagan, and ago of a sudden to find their reagan mojo. the reality is it's not believable. they're not consistent in applying the principles that reagan talked about, particularly economically in how we deal with this problem, so don't -- cry me a river about reagan, the reality is the president of the united states, currently obama, did not listen to those words when he had an opportunity to vote. >> let me talk. i'm going to grant you one thing, absolutely people have grandstanded on the deficit. that's why poor president reagan was making that point. people in both parties at that point were pushing him and pushing him on cutting the deficit.
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that was back in the day when real republicans like bob dole, really wanted to bring the deficit down, and for a little while ronald reagan didn't care about deficits. he actually left the largest peacetime deficit, so republicans play both sides of the aisle. when it comes to we like deficits. are deficits okay or are they terrible? they happen to hate deficits when a democrat is in the white house. this president has compromised so many that people on the left, in my camp, are sometimes disappointed, but we understand what he's doing. your party won't compromise. >> michael, respond to that very prescient thought. it raised a question of compromise. is your side a good a sport as democrats in the term of compromise? can you say? that? the public doesn't think so. >> i agree, chris. as i said on your show before, i think one of the problems
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republicans have is they have messaged this poorly. they have not laid out why they have taken so firmly the position they have taken, so people believe and begin to thing you aren't willing to make those compromises. they have said consistently they said to see something from the administration. they're looking, where do you want to cut? how do you want to address the entitlement challenges? the president has not laid that out. >> michael, i think -- you're usually up to date, but did you read the bill yesterday passed by the house? it doesn't have any specifics on the cuts. there's no specific cuts in there. your party just dodged it again. >> no, they haven't dodged it again, because republicans have talked about whether it was the ryan plan -- >> but no touching of social security of medicare or medicaid. the bill passed. you've got to get up to date. >> i'm very much up to date. >> it makes no reference to entitlements. it's all about the easy stuff.
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you know that. >> because it doesn't matter. >> but i agree -- that party doesn't matter. we're still waiting for the president to tell us specifically what he's going to cut. >> will you admit the house vote doesn't even talk about medicare, medicaid, all it talks is about more money for terrorism, the usual stuff. >> you're right about that. >> also -- >> joan? >> i've got to say here, look, the president has backed whatever we're calling them, the gang of six proposal. he said that's fine with him. now the republicans are say there's not enough meat in it. paul ryan attacked the president for not supporting the deficit commission recommendations, which paul ryan didn't support. so there's so much hypocrisy, so much double dealing, so much not being up front -- is not being honest about the details of the plan, including to some extent on my side. people are not telling the truth. >> i'm glad it hear you say the
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last part. >> that's the crux of the frustration of the american people. both sides to be honest and frank xw it, have not been honest and frank about this discussion. >> let's listen to mike huckabee. we were talking about how reagan was more of a reasonable conservative. more than the tea party people today. mike huckabee on home court in may that reagan probably wouldn't even make it into the ticket today. let's listen and see if you agree with that. >> ronald reagan would have a difficult, if not impossible time, being nominated in this atmosphere of the republican party. >> how come? >> he raised taxes as governor. he made deals with democrats. he compromised on things in order to move the ball down the field. >> michael, are you the left or right of reagan? >> i stand with reagan. one of the reasons why i joined the party as a young man. >> one of the reasons you're not in it anymore. let's go to joan. it seems like the michael steeles and ronald reagans aren't quite hip enough, crazy enough to bring down the government. your last thought, joan? >> michael still says he's not -- let's leave him where he is.
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i'm glad he supports ronald reagan. >> let me answer the question. >> i want him to be a voice for real conciliation on his side with the people in hits parties. reagan sadly probably could not be nominated unless he sold out everybody he believed in at this point. >> i think michael is a lean-forward reagan. i'm kidding. thank you all. up next, if you caught last night's show, you might have noticed how much joe walsh loved saying my name. i like it. stick around for "the sideshow." it's funny. you're watching "hardball" from san francisco. ♪ say my name ♪ say my name ♪ say my name [ female announcer ] you have all this chicken.
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back to "hardball." now for "the sideshow." first up. with the hype about rick perry running for president, the inevitable question is would he accept an offered to serve as running mate? here's how he responded to the question at an event in texas yesterday. >> i think you kind of go vice president, governor of texas, that kind of answer, so -- was it -- pretty good. >> governor, have you ever -- >> i don't know. i think he's being coyed. john garner was also known, saying it's not worth a bucket of warm spit. he made that statement a number of times once he became vice president. that's the tamer version.
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another feud going on in congress and that one's more personal. it began when debbie wasserman schultz made a statement on the floor criticizing allen west yet. west responded with a scathing e-mail to wasserman schultz which read -- i don't believe these words -- you are the most vile, unprofessional and despicable member of the house of representatives. wow, opting to take the high road, she spoke with andrea mitchell and said, i love this, the pressure felt by allen west and her other colleagues. well done. this one is personal. yesterday i interviewed joe walsh from illinois. suffice it to say that representative walsh tried to use my name, which is fine with me, more than a few times as he attempted to defend the, cap and balance bill, as well as his own rationale for signing nor quists's petition.
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and his claim, that the president is a liar. let's take a look back. hey, chris, let me ask you a question, do you support that, chris? >> the president's plan. >> what is the president's plan? we have to stop that, chris. come on, chris. hey, cresse. hey, chris. chris, chris, chris. i love it, chris. >> well, that wasn't half of it. how many times did the congressman from illinois say my name in that short interview? i couldn't believe this when i heard it. 61 times, that's how much home runs roger polaris hit when he made the roared. anyway, i appreciate him coming on the show. up next legislators across the country are changing voting rules to make it harder for democrats to vote. guess why? when we return, we'll find out what's being done to stop this effort. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. ben and his family live on this block. ben's a re/max agent, and he's a big part of this community. re/max agents know their markets, and they care enough to get to know you, too.
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here's what's happening. rescue teams are still searching for bodies of three hikers swept over a 300-foot high water fall in yosemite national park. a brooklyn man wab indicted for kidnapping an drugging a boy walking home from summer camp. a man is asking his civilian lawyer to step back saying he wants an all military defense team. it '022 deaths are -- 22 deaths are blamed for a blisting heat. now back it "hardball."
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welcome back to "hardball." they're trying to change their laws on voting. are these doing this to prevent voting fraud? or could they be trying to prevent mine order horace cooper is here, and judith brown deanis is here. thank you both for joining us. i want to get perch feeling about a person who would cheat in a voting booth. go around and vote for someone else tp drive and and vote numerously. or engage in planning that kind of thing. what is your visceral reaction, horace? >> that's outrageous behavior. what it does is disenfranchises voters. >> what do you think of those people who do that, the people who do that, just focus on that? >> those people are awful cheaters. >> and they don't exist.
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>> wait a minute, no, no, judith, first of all, that displeases me, of course they exist. what's your feeling toward them? >> well, that is wrong. no one wants to see anyone cheating. what should we do? what should we do to a person like that? >> they should be prosecuted under the law. there are laws that already exist. >> el despise people like that. i know this goes on, it goes on in old-time politics, since the '50s since i know about. call up, see if you're voted, and then somebody does come and vote for you. this is an old strategy. bill city politics. like north philly. i know about it in north philly. i believe it still goes on. the question is, can we correct it without screwing up our system? i want people to vote, that's the number one goal, but i also
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want to make sure people don't cheat. how widespread is it? where we have to make it more difficult for an honest older person who may not drive car people in their 80s don't have driver's licenses, don't deal with the government, are we going to be discouraging people by raising the standards? >> the state of missouri looked into the question. how many people do we have on the rolls, and how many people have identification cards, either driver's licenses or others. it turned on the 105% of the eligible voter population issued driver's licenses. >> what do you mean 105%? >> their own numbers -- their own numbers that more than the -- >> that doesn't make any sense. you're losing your credibility here, because i know older people -- >> not at all. >> older people don't drive. >> not at all. >> we have a lawsuit against the state of mo for for this very
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issue. >> here's my understanding is you can't get a driver's license. your eyesight is not good -- >> people still retain their identification cards. and driver's license. they don't have to go someplace and give that information um. they still need to go to the bank or grocery store. >> can i correct the record here? >> judith. >> in missouri, for example, advancement project filed a lawsuit in missouri. it's estimated that there are actually 280,000 already registered voters who are not going to be able to vote, because they don't have the proper photo identification. it has to be state-issued photo identification. we have to understand these laws are the stepsisters of poll taxes. that's what they are. they're increasing the barriers -- >> horace, what is your response to that?
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>> the attorney general of missouri disagrees with that finding, and in fact says that one of the cases their office prosecuted last year involved a democratic primary where people showed up some 500 samoans, not eligible to vote, were paid a fee, and they were the deciding vote who won that state primary. this is behavior that's not acceptable. >> horace, raising your voice won't help. according to an nyu stud,as many as 11% of americans, 21 million people don't have current government-issued photo ids? what do you make of that statement? >> can i add -- >> let him respond to that. >> can i add to that? in wisconsin, where the law passed, there are 78% of african-american males between the ages of 18 and 24 do not have the photo state-issued photo i.d. that would be required to vote. you can't say this is not a poll
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tax and won't have a disproportionate response to the poll. >> horace, those are numbers are out there and you deny them? >> they're inflated. you can go to the national conference of state legislators web sites. when those states themselves are asked how many people are issued i.d., the numbers are very close. some the f 96 to 9d 7%, some 102, 103%. >> 890,000 people by the state's estimates, 890,000 already registered voters in the state of north carolina would not have been able to vote, but thank goodness the democratic governor vetoed the law. >> if you live in a big city, like new york, philadelphia, dense neighborhoods, you don't own a car, you don't drive. so not everybody has driver's licenses. that's just a fact. she don't have the id cards. that's just a fact.
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anyway, let's go on. we'll have this debate through the elections. i think it's odd you can vote if you have a gun license, but not a student i.d. cards. >> we know who the targets are. this is discriminatory against college kids. horace cooper, thank you, judi brown-dianis, thank you. a new book sheds light -- on president obama ae ining a mattic fight. who was the old man that played such a part in at least his imagination? i'm going to talk to the author when we return. this is "hardball," only on msnbc.
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minnesota state government will be back in business after mark dayton signed a new budget into law. that fights's over.
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dayton and republicans struck a deal last week to end the longest state government shutdown ever. i guess deals get made. in neighboring wisconsin, a state senator easily survived a recall vote. two other democrats and six republicans still fail recall elections out there in wisconsin. we'll be right back. i grew up wearing lots of hand-me-downs. bell bottoms in the '80s? not pretty. then she found them. she loved them, so i washed them in tide with downey and they're still soft and fresh. right? i'm blogging. really. i'm talking. that's my tide. what's yours?
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welcome back to "hardball." barack obama has been nicknamed "no drama obama." he's carried that cool into the white house.
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would we all noticed that for better or worse sometimes. contrast that with his life of his father, characterized as bold and reckless in this new book called "the other barack." the bold and reckless life of president obama's father. boston globe reporter sally jacobs is an author. what a great book to come out with. thank you, congratulations. let's just start with your reporting here in this book about the differences in personality and character between the senior and the junior barack obama. >> what are the differences between the two? >> yes, yes, please. >> certainly their lives were radically different. the elder obama was very reckless character. he lived large, he drank heavily, had multiple wives, came from a polygamist bam ground unlike his son who i think is a very rooted, responsible, and cautious person. >> and that impulse to go off. what are the instincts of the
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old man who has a hot temper? >> well, the areas where he spoke out were largely with politics. . those are the areas in the most water. in particular, when kenya had reached independence, the country was trying to figure out which way it was going economically, towards the right in a conservative matter or the left. the elder cast himself as a mediator and criticized the country's drift towards the right, even took a shot at the president himself, and that got him into some deep trouble. >> yeah, i remember the most conservative leader there, spebt a lot of time there in my younger years in the peace corp. newt gingrich, "what if obama is so outside of our comprehension can you begin to piece together accurate, . president's behavior." i thought that was an odd claim
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for a guy, spent so much time with his son, was there a vouched relationship between barack obama the president and his father? >> of course. it's a senseless statement. they spent very little time together. the father left when the son was about 9 months old, then they spent one month together in 1971, it's inconceivable he would have handed him down that kind of legacy. sr. came of age after the mal-mal years and wasn't in nairobi until the late 1950s. >> let me ask what you've discovered about father-son. in my family, maybe in yours, one father, my grandfather was a hot head, my father was a cool customer, had the same job for 36 years, i'm a hybrid, maybe. it seems like he reacted to his father. did he or not? he wrote a whole book about his
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father. >> you know, i think two things about that. one, he tried very hard to understand who his father was. that book is interesting to me, because he is pretty up front in discovering that his father was quite different in this esteemed, vaunted figure than his mother portrayed. he learned his father had a rather tragic life. he peaked very early, he drank heavily, and was somewhat of a failure, but he also -- they have many similarities at the same time. >> tell us about that, obviously, acute and high-level intelligence. >> first thing is raw dna. both obamas were extremely bright, some of his other children were too. both of them had the imagine, some would say arrogance to imagine a life far beyond the quite limited circumstances of their youth. thirdly, they were both very involved in the political era in which they lived, both of them cast themselves as mediators and
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conciliato conciliators. i was reading about obama the president. his father did quite the same thing in 1965. he wrote an article in the east africa journal trying to bring together the polarized politics. extreme on the right and on the left. and obama, the elder, was trying to bring the two together in the interest of his country, about which he was very passionate. >> let me ask you about the tendency of sons of alcoholics to be the opposite and also to try to keep things calm all the time. bill clinton, ronald reagan, both sons of alcoholics. >> i think in dreams from my father, you can really feel obama trying to understand who his father was, what kind of a man would he be? he himself. what does it mean to be a man in america, what does it mean to be black? i think through that process he
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did find himself in quite an opposition from his father. the president, like his politics or hate them, he's a grounded person, chose to marry someone very grounded, steady father, not a heavy drinker, all things his father was not. >> well said. the book is called "the other barack." thank you so much. great story. when we return, let me finish with how president obama is doing exactly what president reagan did nearly three decades ago in terms of his politics. very much modelling himself after ronald reagan.
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let me finish tonight with ronald reagan. people make a mistake when they overdue this thing about the great communicator being the great compromiser. he despised every notion and refused to accept the demand that the united states promise not to develop a missile shield, but he did agree in 1982 to let taxes go up as part of a deal to cut the deficit. after the following year, he agreed to a compromise reform of
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social security. it leaked heavily on tax breaks and in other words, it reflected the results of the election that had just been held. so the relevance is right here in front of us. president obama just had his party get licked last november. he's now going to the republicans with a debt reduction plan that leans heavily in the republican area, spending cuts, he's doing what reagan did, giving the other side the benefit of an election victory, but guess what, the republicans aren't dealing. they've got the tea party calling the plays, and that means it's their way or nothing. look, obama and reagan are governing from different sides of the 50-yard line, but the point is they are playing fair and by the rules. if the far right would get their heads around what's going on and stop worrying about the hottest head at the next tea party meeting, get it, it's called leadership, not followership. it's easy to join
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